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Consumed’ can be considered the sequel to ‘Sixteen Horses’ (2021) Greg Buchanan’s debut novel, which was a resounding success, as forensic veterinarian Dr Cooper Allen is once again a central character. Although a few tough years have passed since the events in the earlier book, she is still haunted by them despite undergoing therapy, and yet, once again she has become obsessed by a new investigation.

Reluctantly Cooper has agreed to join her estranged mother and sister for a family reunion in the rural picturesque town of Lethwick. She is asked by the local police to undertake the post-mortem on two pet pigs, who appear to have eaten their owner, 70 year old Sophie Bertilak, renowned retired photographer.

Back in 1964, 17 year old Sophie had used her birthday camera to inadvertently take a photo of a girl who had been missing for three years and had never been seen again and another of a plastic pipe jutting out of the ground, which appeared to have the eyes of a child looking up; these photos effectively launched her career.

The police consider Sophie’s death a tragic accident but Cooper isn’t too sure.  Why are the pigs so hastily euthanized? Cooper’s growing obsession with the victim’s life and against the police’ wishes, she does some unauthorized digging, which uncovers a complex web of secrets and lies.

By moving the narrative smoothly between the present and the past, the author slowly builds up the story of Cooper and Sophie.  Readers who love atmospheric, slow burn crime fiction, will enjoy this dark chilling read with its menacing undercurrent, twists and turns and many red herrings.

Author Greg Buchanan
Publisher Hachette. Imprint Orion
ISBN 9781398712720
Distributor Hachette AU
Released July 2023